And we’re back. Back to our routines. Back to going through the motions. Back to praying for the end of the week. Back to relating a little too much to a certain Lasagna loving feline who for whatever reason shares a name with one of our more forgettable presidents.
I’m no doctor, but I think I have the perfect prescription to alter your perception: This week’s Mixtape Monday review.
A couple of years ago I went to see The Neighbourhood (The guys who do that Sweater Weather song) in Dallas. That show was life changing. Not because of the band that I went there to see (though they were pretty damn good), but because of the opening acts. The first band White Arrows had an interesting, high energy set that sparked my interest and led to me purchasing their album and a shirt post show. I could go on and on about White Arrows, but this post isn’t about them. No, this post is about the second opening act; who many of the concertgoers hadn’t heard of and didn’t think really fit the vibe of the rest of the show. An act who’s performance was so intense and high energy that multiple people had to be pulled out of the crowd because they had become overwhelmed and couldn’t handle it. An act who had about 50 people leave after his set was complete because they didn’t pay $95 to see the Neighbourhood or White Arrows they only came for his performance. That night Travis Scott wrecked shop and made a hell of a first impression on me…for about a week…and then I had forgotten all about him. That is until I came across his song Don’t Play which sampled The 1975’s M.O.N.E.Y. and LOST MY MIND. Shortly after returning to sanity I realized that I had heard that song live at the NBHD show. I then went to check out Scott’s discography and saw that he had just released a mixtape and that Don’t Play was the lead single from it. It took one listen through to make me a fan.
Since then Scott has released both his debut and sophomore albums (Rodeo and Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight respectively) and both are packed with more fire than a five alarm burrito (I know it’s corny but it’s true). So here’s a review of the tape that opened my eyes to the greatness that is La Flame, Days Before Rodeo.
It’s obvious from it’s title and the album that followed it, that this mixtape was created with a specific purpose in mind. This wasn’t just a random collection of songs that Travis Scott made and thought the fans might like. Days Before Rodeo was made with the express purpose of giving fans and newcomers alike a preview of what they could expect from his long awaited debut album Rodeo. With Days Before Rodeo, Scott showed the world that he is not simply a rapper, but a creator of moods and tones. From the first track, Days Before:The Prayer, La Flame builds a dark but inviting atmosphere that slowly draws you in to the rest of the tape. Other tracks, such as Drugs You Should Try, Zombies, and Skyfall share this slightly sinister feel, but the track list is anything but musically monochromatic. Grey has a soft reminiscent feel to it, as Scott looks at where he is now and compares it to where he and his friends started. Don’t Play, with its harpsichord intro and 1975 sample, has a bouncy but aggressive feel to it that makes it perfect for a pregame hype or workout playlist, and Sloppy Toppy is perfect for your house party playlist (provided your guests wouldn’t be made uncomfortable by a four minute and thirty four second ode to top notch fellatio).
Another thing that Days Before Rodeo gave audiences a great preview of is Scott’s penchant for picking the perfect artists to collaborate with. Travis Scott collabs never feel like a good Travis Scott song with a featured artist, but rather like a great song that Scott and other artists happen to all be on together. Great examples of this are the aforementioned Sloppy Toppy (feat. Migos), Quintana pt.2 (feat. T.I.), and Mamacita (feat. Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan). For me, La Flame’s greatest talent is creating songs with people whose music I would NEVER listen to of my own accord (Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, Peewee Longway) and making me love them (at least within those songs). This is a trend that would continue with both of Travis Scott’s albums where he works with more artists that I usually can’t stand and made hits (2Chainz, Future, Young Thug again on both albums, Swae Lee, Bryson Tiller, etc.).
Overall I’d say this mixtape is definitely worth checking out along with his first mixtape Owl Pharaoh, and both of his albums. Days Before Rodeo was a great introduction to the artist that I honestly think is shaping up to be the next Kanye West (minus all the controversy, and ego tripping). One thing I didn’t talk about was his lyrical prowess ,which is probably strange to you guys because you know I like to fixate on words. This isn’t because I find Scott lyrically lacking (dude is actually pretty capable in the bars department). It’s just because for me, Travis Scott’s biggest talent is the orchestration of sounds and the feelings that they cause. But if you want an assessment of the lyrics then I suggest you check the tape out and make your own.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Standout Tracks: Drugs You Should Try, Basement Freestyle, Don’t Play, Skyfall
Favorite Line: She let grand slam outside the Denny’s/ How we gone get Oscar Proud if they pay us Pennies?
There’s Some Flava For Your Ear